Crosstalk, also known by its Chinese name xiangsheng (simplified Chinese: 相声; traditional Chinese: 相聲; pinyin: xiàngsheng; literally "looking at each other and speaking"), is a traditional Chinese comedic performance in the form of a dialogue between two performers, or, much less often, a solo monologue or, even less frequently, a multi-player talk show. The language, rich in puns and allusions, is delivered in a rapid, bantering style. Crosstalk is one of China's foremost and most popular performing arts, and is typically performed in the Tianjin dialect (or in Standard Chinese with a strong Northern Chinese accent).
Modern crosstalk is made up of four skills - speaking (simplified Chinese: 说; traditional Chinese: 說; pinyin: shuō), imitating (simplified Chinese: 学; traditional Chinese: 學; pinyin: xué), teasing (Chinese: 逗; pinyin: dòu), and singing (Chinese: 唱; pinyin: chàng).
Crosstalk rose as a performing act during the Ming Dynasty, with heavy Jurchen influence. From the Qing Dynasty to the 1920s, crosstalk gradually developed to become a style of comedic monologue. Later crosstalk came to be performed as a dialogue and sometimes even in groups of three or more.
After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the popularity of crosstalk increased. It is a standard feature of CCTV's annual New Year's Gala and other popular performing arts shows in China.
To appeal to younger audiences, animators have created animated versions of various skits using audio from past broadcasts. The animated versions uses humor in a literal sense.
The small scale and popularity of crosstalk makes it second only to word of mouth in reflecting popular concerns. Hou Baolin and others have said that crosstalk items are "works of comic nature which use satire and humour as their principal base. Their satirical content strikes home at contemporary malpractices and also often includes political satire." The role of crosstalk in social commentary was seen after the fall of the Gang of Four in 1976, when crosstalk performances provided the first open criticisms of the gang. After 1976, crosstalk has also provided satire concerning corrupt officials and members of the Communist Party of China, although criticism of the Party as an entity remains off limits.
 Famous crosstalk performers
- Hou Baolin
- Ma Sanli
- Liu Baorui
- Ma Ji
- Jiang Kun
- Hou Yaowen
- Ding Guang Quan
- Feng Gong
- Guo Degang
- Yu Qian
- Fong Yigan
- Zun Shaochin
- Li Liqun
 See also
- "Dashan: Xiangsheng". Dashan Online. Archived from the original on 2007-11-12. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
- Mackerras, Colin (2004). The Performing Arts in Contemporary China. Routledge. pp. 102–104.